After spending nine unforgettable years at Napoli, Dries Mertens has become a free agent after seeing out his contract with the Serie A club. The two parties were apparently hoping to renew their collaboration, but Partenopei president Aurelio De Laurentiis announced the striker’s departure last week.

The Belgian left the club after cementing himself as its all-time best goal-scorer with 148 goals to his name in 397 appearances.

So according to Tuttosport via ilBianconero, Mertens has emerged as the latest candidate on Juve’s attacking shortlist.

The Old Lady is searching the market for a new striker, and while Alvaro Morata remains the favorite option (according to the source), the former PSV Eindhoven man could prove to be an affordable solution.

Mertens is experienced, versatile and dangerous in front of goal. But at the age of 35, his best days are surely behind him.

Moreover, Juventus would face two hurdles in their pursuit. The first is the player’s strong bond with the Napoli supporters who would surely turn against him if he lands in Turin. The second is Maurzio Sarri, who is trying to reunite with his old pupil at Lazio.

Juve FC say

Similarly to Kalidou Koulibaly’s case, Mertens is unlikely to “betray” Napoli by joining their arch-rivals Juventus, and will probably end up playing elsewhere.

And while his free agent status is an enticing prospect for the Bianconeri, they would probably do better to secure a younger alternative.